Hawkins workers’ comp claims have exceeded premiums for past 10 years

Jeff Bobo • Jun 17, 2013 at 8:18 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County will have an 8 percent increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums and a new $2,500 deductible in 2013-14 because its claims have consistently exceeded its premiums over the past 10 years.

That 8 percent increase adds up to a little more than $23,000, and this is the first time the county has been given a workers’ comp deductible.

Becky Brock, who represents the county’s Local Government Insurance Pool (LGIP), told county leaders Thursday that until now other counties have been picking up the slack for Hawkins County’s poor record.

Brock told the county commission’s Public Safety Committee Thursday that the LGIP looked back at the 10-year history for every county in the pool.

“Typically we would look at a five-year loss history to see what members are using a little bit more out of that (shared) bucket of money,” Brock said. “What we did this year instead of just looking at five years, we actually went back 10 years because I wanted all of the members to not be judged on just a couple of bad years, but to really see what they had invested in the pool.”

Since 2003, Hawkins County has paid $2.1 million into the pool and has used $3.5 million in claims. Its worst year was 2010 when the county had 28 claims totaling $621,308 after paying $229,199 in premiums for a deficit of $392,109.

Only once in the past decade have the county’s premiums exceeded claims, and that was only $9,269 in 2007.

As of May 1 of this year, Hawkins County only had 12 claims and was $106,878 under the premium paid, but the year won’t be completed until June 30.

As of May 1, Hawkins County’s total premium deficit for the decade was $1.4 million.

“That means over a 10-year period the other members in the pool are supporting you guys,” Brock said. “A pool is set up to even out. You’re supposed to have a few bad years and other counties are supporting you, and then vice versa. But what we saw when we looked back over 10 years is we had a few members using more than their fair share.”

Brock added, “I didn’t want you to believe we were punishing you with this deductible. We’re having to put that in play for the stability of all the members in the pool.”

Hawkins County’s property and casualty claims have exceeded premiums over the past 10 years as well. Over that period Hawkins County paid $2.07 million into its property and casualty pool but had claims of $2.44 million, for a deficit of $373,975.

That deficit can be mainly attributed to 2010 when Hawkins County had 32 claims for $640,515, $395,512 less than it paid in premiums.

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